City Info

BANDA ACEH

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The Magnificent Land with Spiritual Culture

Its auspicious position on the tip of the westernmost point of the Indonesian archipelago has made the town of Banda Aceh a recognized transit point as well as a hub for education, commerce, and government. As a tourism gateway in the westernmost entrance to Indonesia, you are invited to learn the remaining magnificence of old Aceh Darussalam golden era as they are spiritually valuable to the nation. The tourist information center in Banda Aceh has carefully identified the enduring remains and they demonstrate how this magnificent land has been spiritually resilient. Though around sixty percent of the town’s infrastructure was destroyed, the city is now looking new as considerable developments took place right after the disaster. Ulee Lheue is a shoreline facing Malacca Strait and the Pacific Ocean on the west, and it offers the best sunset views in the country.

 

Getting in Banda Aceh

Sultan Iskandar Muda Airport (BTJ) is the major airport in Banda Aceh. The airport serves several airlines, such as Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, Sriwijaya Air, AirAsia, and Malaysia Airlines. As you arrive in Banda Aceh, walk out the airport and you will find choices of transportation. Taxis are available and have different providers.

Labi-labi is a local name for public minibus or ‘angkot’ in other parts of the country. This is the most economical means of transportation available to the public and travelers. The most convenient way to travel within the city as you plan to visit various places of interests in Banda Aceh post tsunami is by mountain biking. A tour operator renting selections of bicycle can be found in Aceh Adventure.

Foreigners no longer require a travel permit (Surat Jalan) to enter Aceh, but an Indonesian visa is required. Since 6 June 2010, it is possible to get a 30 day Visa-on-Arrival at Banda Aceh Airport. The Embassy in KL can sometimes process the visa in the same day if you complete all the paperwork before noon, though officially this only applies to Malaysian residents( 60 day visa is no longer available at KL, so visa on arrival is the best bet, although you can still get a 60 day visa in 2 days in Penang(Jul '15)).

By bus

There are non-stop night buses, with travel times ranging from 9-13 hours - from Medan to Banda Aceh. Major bus companies such as PMTOH, Pelangi, Kurnia and Pusaka have offices on Jl. Gajah Mada, Medan. As of June 2017, a regular seat in a bus or mini van costs about 240,000, and Pelangi Mercedes Benz buses cost 340,000.

Mini-buses can also take you to Banda Aceh from the Medan area, but journeys are generally longer. Prices are a bit cheaper than the coaches. It is also possible to travel over from Medan to Banda Aceh via Kutacane and Takengon. This will be 20 hr in total.

By plane

Sultan Iskandar Muda Airport, (IATABTJICAOWITT) is named after the twelfth sultan of Aceh, Iskandar Muda.

Airlines fly daily between Banda Aceh and either Medan, a 1 hr trip, or Jakarta, a 2 hr 40 minute trip.

  • AirAsiaKuala Lumpur[13], flights every day early in the morning
  • FireflyPenang , Malaysia's community airline now flies from Penang to Banda Aceh every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
  • Garuda IndonesiaJakarta-Soekarno-Hatta, Medan, 3 daily flights from Jakarta and two daily flights from Medan. The Jakarta-Banda Aceh direct flight on Garuda takes 2 hr 40 mins on a Boeing 737, although it is often changed to stopover at Medan without warning. Seasonal to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia during the Hajj season
  • Lion AirJakarta-Soekarno-Hatta, Medan, Batam. They have two daily flights from Jakarta and one from Medan. Flies from Batam to Banda Aceh on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • SMAC, Blang Pidie, Meulaboh, Simelue, Takengon, Tapaktuan. Flies daily from Medan to Nias Island and Simeulue Island.

Visa

Visa formalities at this airport are similar to those of other Indonesian immigration gateways.

  • Visa On Arrival (VOA) service is available at Sultan Iskandar Muda Airport.

Airport bus

A bus provides a service from Banda Aсeh to the airport, and from the airport to Banda Aceh. Operating hours are 10/11AM-2:30PM, price to the city is Rp 15,000/person.

The bus departing from the airport to Banda Aсeh leaves a few minutes after airplanes land. So departure time depends on landing time, more or less. Thus, it's advised to hurry to catch the bus. It is on your left when you leave the airport building (taxi drivers will tell you there is no airport bus, just keep on walking because the bus is there).

Please note that this bus goes to Banda Aceh City Centre; it does not go to the Bus Station or Ulee-Lhue Harbour. If you want to go to the Bus Station or Ulee-Lhue Harbour, take a becak after being dropped off in the City Centre by the airport bus.

source: The light of Aceh and Wikitravel



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